Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District officials announced Wednesday the date the bridge will officially switch to all-electronic tolling.
Beginning on March 27, drivers will no longer be able to use cash in the toll lanes and no one will be required to stop at the toll plaza.
Cash-paying drivers have four options from which to choose, each of which is spelled out on the district's toll website:
- FasTrak: While 86 percent of morning Golden Gate Bridge commuters use the popular payment system, the district is encouraging all drivers to do the same, particularly because FasTrak users save $1 off the $6 toll.
- License Plate Account: For those who prefer not to have a FastTrak, either because of the required pre-payment, the GPS-enabled sensor it requires or any other reasons, a credit card-based account can be set up using a car's license plate, which will be scanned each time it passes through the toll plaza. Currie said 158 license plate accounts had been created as of last month. Accounts can be opened, funded and maintained with a credit card, cash, check or money order. When the account is opened with a credit card, a "pay-as-you go" toll is charged to the credit card only when you cross the bridge.
- One-time payment: Drivers who don't want to have an account for tolls, as well as those who use rental cars, can pay in advance for their bridge use. Payments can be made by phone using a credit card or in person with cash at cash payment locations or in person using cash, check, money order or credit card at the Bay Area FasTrak Service Center in San Francisco.
- Invoice: If none of the above options are used, the registered owner of the vehicle will receive a bill in the mail for the unpaid toll.
While 10 pilot electronic kiosks for cash paying customers have already been rolled out in Marin and San Francisco, officials plan to have a total of 150 up and running by March 27.
Click here to see the kiosk locations and to learn how to use the stations.
At the kiosks, drivers can pay for their bridge toll up to 30 days before or 48 hours after they cross the iconic span, allowing them to avoid receiving an invoice in the mail for their toll.
Drivers can also use the kiosks to add money to a FasTrak account, add money to a license plate account, pay a mailed invoice or pay a violation. All they need is cash and their license plate number.
Nine of the district’s full-time toll collectors received lay-off notices today, according to District Spokesperson Mary Currie. The majority of the district’s 28 fulltime collectors have already transitioned to another job at the district or plan to retire.
Since stopping will no longer be part of crossing the Golden Gate, the speed limit at the toll plaza will be changed. District officials have set a public hearing on the topic for Thursday, March 21 at 9:30 a.m. at the Golden Gate Bridge Board Room in the Administration Building. The speed limit is currently 5 mph. Other toll bridges in the Bay Area have a posted speed limit of 25 mph.
The toll plaza itself will remain in place for the foreseeable future, Currie said.
District officials are also launched an advertising campaign March 6 with the tag line “Drive on through to the other side. All electronic tolling on the Golden Gate Bridge. No stopping, Ever. Trippy.”